GEORGE TOWN: T. Previin, the key witness in T. Nhaveen's murder trial, has named the four accused as the ones who bullied the deceased in school.
Questioned by the prosecution in the High Court here on Thursday (Aug 5), Previin told Judicial Commissioner Mohd Radzi Abdul Hamid that Nhaveen named J. Ragesuthen and S. Gokulan, both 22, and two others who were minors at the time of their 2017 arrests, as those who bullied Nhaveen when he was in Form Three to Form Five.
"He (Nhaveen) would complain about a guy named Ragesuthen and his friends bullying him in school as well as after school if they spotted him alone.
"He complained of them smacking his head, punching and kicking him," he said in court when questioned by deputy public prosecutor Datuk Khairul Anuar Abdul Halim.
When asked how many times Nhaveen had complained about the bullying, Previin said it was countless.
"I cannot count the number of times as he always complained about them bullying him.
"He mentioned Ragesuthen's name the most times as they were in the same school," said Previin, now 23.
When asked by Khairul what he did when told about the bullying, Previin said he did not take it seriously as he had not witnessed it at that point.
"I told him to be strong and not to be scared.
"I told him they bullied him because he was timid and scared, and he should be brave," he said.
Previin, a year older than the victim, said Nhaveen confided in him about the bullying as they were close friends and he was regarded as an "older brother".
"His mother treated me like her son and his family members treated me the same as Nhaveen," he said when asked about his closeness to Nhaveen's family.
Previin said he found out that Nhaveen's mother D. Shanti knew about the bullying when Nhaveen was in Form Five.
The prosecution team is led by state prosecution director Khairul, as well as deputy public prosecutors Mohd Amril Johari, Yazid Mustaqim Roslan and Noor Azura Zulkiflee.
Ragesuthen and Gokulan, then both 18, along with two others, one aged 17 and another who turned 18 in July 2017, are charged with murdering Nhaveen between 11pm and midnight on June 9, 2017, near a learning centre in Jalan Kaki Bukit, Bukit Gelugor.
They are jointly charged under Section 302 of the Penal Code, which carries the mandatory death sentence upon conviction.
The four also face another charge at the Sessions Court for allegedly causing grievous hurt to Previin, who was Nhaveen's friend, at the same time and place.
Datuk Ranjit Singh Dhillon is representing Ragesuthen and Gokulan, while Maanveer Singh Dhillon and Yagoo Subramaniam are representing the other two.
The trial continues on Friday (Aug 6).
Earlier in court on Thursday, a gag order was issued against activist Arun Dorasamy to keep him from making any remarks publicly related to the trial.
After hearing arguments from both sides, JC Mohd Radzi said he agreed with the application as Arun's remarks have been a threat to the court proceedings.
JC Mohd Radzi said Arun’s actions caused witnesses to be afraid to take the stand, for fear of being lynched by social media users influenced by Arun’s comments over the past few months.
He said that while the court respects Arun’s freedom of expression under the Federal Constitution, any sort of prejudgment of the case would not be tolerated.
He said Arun had also gone against an order to not comment on the case while a gag order against him was being decided.
“The public trusts the judiciary and the powers of the justice system in this case.
"Taking on the role of prosecutor and judge, and speculating on a case is sub judice.
“Making scathing remarks on witnesses may make them afraid of coming to court for fear of being attacked.
“This court recognises that you have the right to free speech but you have to be fair and balanced in your comments and the public must remain confident of the functions of the judiciary and the court process," he said.